How Trade Associations Should Address Generation Gaps

Generation gaps commonly exist among trade association members. These gaps create differences in opinions and values among younger and older members, often leading to varying expectations from members. Below are 2 key steps trade associations should take to address generation gaps and keep members satisfied.

Identify the different generations among members and the preferences of each

To address generation gaps, trade associations should first identify and group together the age differences among members. What percentage are Boomers, Millennials, or Gen X? After identifying and grouping each generation together, get a conversation going with each one.

Consider asking members of each age group what they like about your association, and what they dislike. As industries constantly change and new technology emerges, it is crucial to ensure that each generation is up to speed and happy with the way things are going. 

For example, you might find that Millenial members prefer receiving new information or industry accomplishments through social media or e-mail newsletters, while Boomers and Gen X prefer quarterly or annual in-person meetings or phone calls. 

Plan accordingly to meet the needs of all members

After the preferences of each group have been identified, trade associations should strategize how to accommodate the varying preferences in a way that best serves all members. By using the responses from each generation group, you can create a nice balance within your trade association’s marketing and communication strategies. 

Use member responses to determine the following: 

  • The best platforms to use for sharing relevant news or industry trends with members, along with how often to share this information.
  • Plan for the amount of in-person visits and phone calls to have with members. 
  • Types of conferences and other industry events to get involved with that appeal to members.  
  • Membership benefits to offer that will appeal to all generations. 

By identifying the different generations among members, and gathering feedback from each group, trade associations can address generation gaps and keep members satisfied across all age groups. 

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